During the year, we caught up with Gary Brookshaw, our UK Product Director to ask him a few questions about the merchant industry in general, current challenges and his role in Intact. Read on for the full interview or click to a specific question below:
- How did you get into the industry and to your current position?
- How do you feel the industry has changed in recent years?
- What are the current challenges facing the merchant sector?
- How has COVID-19 impacted your business, and what (permanent?) changes have been implemented?
- What are the current challenges facing your company?
- Which individual has influenced you most in your career?
- What do you enjoy most about your job?
- Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I have been building software solutions all my working life; including co-founding and developing another merchant software solution. As Intact Product Director, I now spend my time with merchant customers observing how they use our software, listening to their challenges and driving product improvements based on their valued feedback. I also spend a lot of time in a consulting role and enjoy my varied job. Being close to merchants ensures I truly understand the challenges they face.
From a software point of view, we’re seeing more and more customers looking for more pertinent information from their ERP system. This is hugely driven by a competitive and fluctuating market which makes it more important than ever to have a ‘finger on the pulse’.
But the way customers expect to trade with merchants is also changing. Whether that be online, via Apps, etc., today’s customers want to trade with you as efficiently as possible and technology can help you here.
We know merchants often struggle to get on board with the latest technologies or to fully leverage their software investment as it can be technically challenging for them. We believe it’s our responsibility to develop the systems they need to get ahead and to support them in maximising those technologies.
Whilst supply shortages have been well documented, merchants have never been busier with many customers seeing record months. The challenge for merchants now is ensuring they have the right stock to satisfy demand whilst also keeping an eye on fluctuating prices. As highlighted earlier, this is where visibility of information is key.
And agility will be rewarded. At Intact, we talk about flexibility all the time – just ask anyone who’s been in one of our presentations! But that flexibility is what allows businesses to quickly adapt to periods of change while coping with the nuances of their business processes and decisions. And this is where your business software needs to be the best employee you’ve ever had.
2021 is not what any of us had planned but adapting to change is part of Intact’s DNA. We responded quickly by mobilising our staff and customer base, giving away hundreds of temporary free licenses, coordinating 14 free training webinars and got customers swiftly trading online with our pop-up ecommerce solution.
We also adapted by shifting our business model. We’ve introduced new pricing structures to lower the cost of entry and created new business units to better serve our customers. In addition, we launched our Intact Cloud Solution and extended our mobile and online product portfolio significantly. And work continues as we strive to better serve our customers
Intact is growing fast. And with that comes its own challenges – finding the right people to join our growing team, ensuring our products continue to meet and pre-empt future merchant requirements and always, always, delighting our customers. Thankfully, our growth strategy anticipated these challenges and over the last year or so we’ve created new customer-focused business units, developed an online learning hub for customers and filled key roles with personnel from the ERP space.
If I don’t say my wife and family then I’m in trouble! Professionally, I’ve met and worked with some wonderful people.
I was first employed by, and then went on to start a business with, Robert Collins – back in the BCT Business Systems days – a blast from the past for some readers, I’m sure! He introduced me to the wonderful world of software for builders’ merchants!
More recently the team at Intact are great to work with – so much talent and passion for what we do. It’s good to collectively blend our previous product experiences.
And then there are group of customers (who shall remain nameless, but they know who they are!) who have their own pursuit of excellence that drives us to create better solutions!
I’ve always viewed software development as a creative process rather than a technical one. Lots of people can code but there is an art to creating good solutions.
If it’s awkward or challenging for me to demonstrate something, then you can bet it’s harder again for the end user. So, I use that as an incentive to do better…
My role spans that product input and customer interaction, so I look at solutions from both angles and it makes every day different and a challenge…in a good way!
It’s a great people and product-focused business and we are driven to improve everything we do. We will continue to grow in the merchant sector in the UK, Ireland and beyond. We want our products to be viewed as the aspirational software of choice and I want to be a part of the team that helps drive that as much as I can…
In brief: Gary Brookshaw Business Profile
Gary’s been a software developer all his working life; including co-founding and developing a leading merchant software solution. As Product Director, he spends a lot of time with customers observing how they use Intact, listens to their challenges & drives product improvements based on their valued feedback. He’s often found in a consultancy capacity too and enjoys his varied role.
Driven by customer satisfaction with us and our solutions, Gary is a stickler for attention to detail and delivering polished products. A family man, he loves photography, movies and new technology.